Black Friday is like having a pack of cigarettes stashed in the freezer.

For a few years after I stopped smoking, I kept a pack of cigarettes in the freezer.

I didn’t touch them, not because of any feat of willpower, but because I would have had to dig through a lot of frozen broccoli first, and even if I did get to them, they’d be cold and that’s just weird, so I’d have to wait for the cigarette to return to room temperature before smoking it, and that was way too much work to satisfy a momentary craving that I knew would pass by the time I did all that and located a lighter. But I liked knowing that the cigarettes were there. If I really wanted to, I could smoke them.

That’s exactly how I feel about the stores being open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night or at midnight on Black Friday. I think that the early openings of stores are disgusting, and the chaos in the Wal-Marts is terrible for people, never mind the fact that like the cigarettes in the freezer, Black Friday shopping is both inconvenient and cold.

But I also like knowing that if I felt like it, at any time tonight, I could go out shopping.

It’s the sort of thing that warms an insomniac’s sleepless little heart.

What I’m thankful for.


I’m also thankful for 18 minute, 16 second songs that can be replayed on YouTube.

I am thankful for a wonderful husband. Every day with this man feels like a holiday.

I am thankful for our two furry beasts, who serve not only as companions but working animals:
The dog is a doorbell, a personal trainer and a confidence booster and the cat is a mouser, a foot warmer and keeps us from getting too confident.

I am thankful for parents who are now friends, a brother and sister-in-law I’m always excited to see, and a supportive and fun extended family and in-laws.

I am thankful to be in touch with good friends from every period of my life, from high school to college to the newsroom to my time in Spain.

I’m thankful for the publication of my first book this year.

I’m thankful for a full draft of the sequel and an editor who is interested in seeing it.

I’m thankful for our home, and that our kitchen floor is not an inch lower.

I’m thankful for my job at the college. I seriously have the best job on campus.

I’m thankful for my students, who keep me young and, presumably, cool.

I’m thankful for a garden that keeps us in vegetables well into the winter and a neighbor who continues to introduce me to fruits I’ve never seen before.

I’m thankful for the health of everyone I’ve mentioned.

I’m thankful that there are so many good books I haven’t read yet.

I’m thankful to have been born in a time and place when I have rights, which given history and the odds, is pretty amazing.

I’m thankful for the people who read this blog. When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read what I was writing here. Thank you for proving me wrong and thank you for all your comments. I’ve met some cool people through this blog, and I always look forward to reading what you have to say.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

What are you thankful for?

Trees, snow, and my belated list of thanks.

Oh, you crazy tannenbaum.

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a Christmas tree. Especially right after you’ve brought it into the house and right before your nose gets used to it and you cease to consciously smell it. The fresh-Christmas-tree scent is one of the few scents I wish I could get my nose to smell for the whole season, but I know that by tomorrow I will have to stick my face directly into the branches to smell the tree. In a week, I will be crushing needles to smell it.  I can’t be the only one who’s experienced this.  In fact this is probably why Yankee Candle is able to do such an appalling trade in balsam-scented candles.

Right now however, the tree is two days old, and smells just like a little piece of the forest in our newly cleaned living room. And the best kind of snow is falling outside: The kind that looks pretty, collects on the ground, but does not make the roads treacherous.

And because I’m grateful for all these things, I thought I’d write the blog I failed to write a few weeks ago. Inspired by a few other people’s Thanksgiving posts, I had meant to make a list of five little things for which I’m grateful. Not the big things (wonderful husband, awesome parents, brother and future sister-in-law, roof over my head and job that I love) but five little things that make me happy every day. Things that seem so good that they might be revoked by the government. Continue reading